Kaddis goes back to court
By Kelly Feser Eells
William Kaddis, the Los Angeles real estate
agent charged with the illegal clearance of 301 state-protected
oak trees on his Lake Casitas-area property, was back in Ventura
County Superior Court Jan. 24 - this time, with colorful defense
attorney Roger Diamond in tow.
Diamond, whose last high-profile client was fugitive and convicted
rapist Andrew Luster, joked with a small group of onlookers,
saying he was surprised by their "interest in the case.
"There's no sex," he smiled. "No one raped anyone."
Ventura County Star reporter Charles Levin begged to differ:
"Actually, this is considered the largest 'rape of land'
in Ventura County history."
Two unidentified women murmured their agreement, one of them
adding, "And this was in Ojai, where trees are sacred."
Diamond said that, though he was new to the case, he hoped Deputy
District Attorney Karen Wold would consider "waiving jury
on this matter and trying it with the parallel civil case"
(in which Kaddis is charged with maintaining an illegal dog kennel
and two new counts of creating a nuisance).
Wold pointed out that, while she might be willing to waive jury,
such discussion was premature. "For one, (presiding) Judge
Walsh is a criminal judge. He can't hear both cases, and I'm
not going to discuss it before this court."
Diamond said he "was just trying to find a way to save the
courts some money, to conserve our judicial resources."
With respect to the two newest counts of "creating a nuisance,"
Diamond contended that "it sounds like a possible constitutional
violation. I mean, he applied for a permit for a kennel, but
couldn't get a hearing because of the other issue. It seems to
me that, if a kennel was there, there wouldn't be a nuisance."
Aside from pleading not guilty, Kaddis, who now faces a total
of 13 criminal charges, had no comment.
A new trial date was set for Feb. 27.
Outside the courtroom, Diamond was optimistic, and again asked
people what their interest in the case was. "That last time,"
he laughed, referring to the Luster case, "well, if you're
going to get trounced, you can at least get some good publicity."
The Ojai Valley News
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